Jake Froccaro ’16 (Office of Athletic Communications)
The Princeton men’s lacrosse team was at midseason form despite the Valentine’s Day snow, burying Manhattan 14-4 in its first game of the season Feb. 14. The Tigers return nine of their 10 2014 starters, and it was clear that they were already in sync Saturday.
The Tigers got to work before the snow started to fall with a flurry of goals in the first quarter. In less than three minutes, Princeton drew first blood and built up a 4-0 lead, with attacker Bear Altemus ’17 opening the scoring with 8:16 to go in the period. Midfielder Zach Currier ’17 struck next, assisted by midfielder Jake Froccaro ’16. After assisting Gavin McBride ’17’s first career goal, Froccaro won the ensuing faceoff and quickly dished the ball to Ryan Ambler ’16, who found the back of the net for the Tigers’ second goal in eight seconds.
Attacker Mike MacDonald ’15 notched an unassisted goal with under a minute to go in the quarter, and the Tigers never looked back. Ambler would add three more goals while MacDonald scored again and logged three assists as Princeton built up an imposing lead.
Manhattan showed only flashes of offensive prowess, striking at the beginning and end of the second quarter and twice at the end of the game after Princeton head coach Chris Bates replaced his backup goalkeeper with rookie Tyler Blaisdell ’18. Blaisdell made two saves in his first collegiate game. Continue reading
Michelle Miller ’16 scored a combined 31 points in the weekend wins over Columbia and Cornell. (Beverly Schaefer)
A new semester did nothing to stall the women’s basketball team’s winning ways: The No. 18 Tigers won their fifth straight Ivy game and extended their undefeated record to 21-0 after beating Columbia and Cornell at Jadwin Gym Feb. 6 and 7.
Friday’s 83-44 victory against Columbia showcased Princeton’s domination in the paint, as the Tigers held a 50-6 margin in points there. Junior guard Michelle Miller continues to be a force to be reckoned with, sinking 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting. Upperclassman duo Blake Dietrick ’15 and Taylor Williams ’16 put up eight points, six rebounds, and four assists, and joined by junior Alex Wheatley’s 10 points and three rebounds, rounded out the defensive block to thrash the Lions.
On Saturday against Cornell, Princeton never trailed, paced by Miller’s double-double (15 points and 11 rebounds). Wheatley followed close behind with 14 points and eight rebounds, and the Tigers routed the Big Red 75-47. The win matched the 21 straight wins record that was set during the 2009-10 season.
Dietrick said that a huge factor in the team’s success this year is that the Tigers have “recommitted this season to our defense,” as Princeton leads the Ivy League in rebounds and has won by at least a 20-point margin of victory in all but three of its matchups. This points to Princeton’s incredible depth as well — Tigers hold three of the Ivy League’s top five spots in both field goal percentage as well as three-point percentage. Continue reading
After staying close with Harvard but ultimately coming up short in Friday’s 75-72 loss, Princeton men’s basketball knew it needed to come back strong on Saturday as they took on Dartmouth for the second half of an important weekend in Ivy League play. The Tigers rose to the occasion, beating Dartmouth 64-53 to return to a winning record in league play.
“[We had the] luxury of getting the chance to play again, which we were very happy to do,” Head Coach Mitch Henderson ’98 said after the Dartmouth game. “I did not think last night was a great showing for us, so I’m pleased with the win, very happy for these guys and getting ready for a huge stretch of games here coming up.”
The first half of Saturday’s game echoed Friday night’s, with Dartmouth playing the role that Princeton had against the Crimson — constantly trailing, but within striking distance. The Tigers went into halftime up by nine. Dartmouth cut the lead to five after halftime, but the Tigers would rally to lead by as many as 17 and win by 11.
Spencer Weisz ’17 led Princeton with 16 points. Amir Bell ’18 had an impressive all-around game, finishing with seven rebounds, four assists, and four points.
“Amir Bell had one hell of a game defensively,” Weisz said of his teammate. “Coming in as a freshman, he’s been playing great for us and to stop one of the best shooters in the league [the Big Green’s Alex Mitola] … is just a great benefit for us.”
Though new to the team, Bell has been a key contributor, starting all 19 games. Henderson said he has noticed significant growth in Bell’s play. Continue reading
Abram Ayala ’16 (Office of Athletic Communications)
Princeton wrestling awards the Triede Trophy each year to the member of the team “who by his spirit, ability, and sportsmanship has contributed most to the sport.” Last year, that privilege went to Abe Ayala ’16, who had a standout sophomore season in the 197-pound bracket. His 27-win season included a fifth-place finish at the EWIA Championships, which clinched a debut appearance at the NCAA Championships.
“Last season felt like a dream,” Ayala said.
The dream followed a freshman campaign that was more like a nightmare for Ayala, who was dismissed from the team late in his first season. Ayala admitted that as a rookie, he invested a lot into the season too early on and in the wrong places. He said that he didn’t account for the jump from high school to college wrestling.
Ayala also was cutting a lot of weight. He walked onto campus weighing around 190 pounds, but started the season wrestling at 165. He was locked in a position battle for the starting spot, and he wrestled poorly in his first tournament.
“After that performance in the first tournament, I was losing morale,” Ayala said. “And with the combined pressure of the wrestle-off, I kind of mentally broke, that’s the bottom line.” Continue reading
Molly Contini ’17 (Office of Athletic Communications)
A year ago, Molly Contini ’17 was taking a year off from school to recover from hip surgery. This season, the Tiger forward has returned to the ice at full strength — and then some — earning ECAC Hockey Player of the Month honors in November.
Contini led Princeton’s freshmen in scoring in 2012-13 with 10 points (nine goals and an assist), despite an injury that plagued her throughout the second half of her season. Through 15 games this year, she has scored six goals (a team high) and added seven assists.
Before coming to Princeton, the Ontario native spent three seasons in the Provincial Women’s Hockey League — the highest level of junior women’s amateur hockey in the province — twice leading her team, the Waterloo K-W Rangers, in scoring. Continue reading
Princeton and Yale played their first Thanksgiving Day game in 1876. (Athletics at Princeton — A History)
Detroit and Dallas may have cornered the market for pro football’s Thanksgiving Day games, but the holiday’s gridiron tradition began well before the creation of the NFL.
On Nov. 30, 1876, Princeton and Yale faced off in Hoboken, N.J., playing what would best be described as an 11-on-11 form of rugby. Princeton entered the game with a 3-0 record and a fresh set of uniforms — black tights and jerseys with an orange P on the chest — but the Elis prevailed, two goals to none. The Princetonian, then in its first year of publication, questioned a few key calls by the referee, noting that he was “a Yale man.”
The Princeton-Yale game would eventually move to New York’s Manhattan Field, where it briefly became a Thanksgiving phenomenon. In 1893, some 40,000 spectators turned out to see the Tigers win a showdown of two unbeaten teams, 6-0. Richard Harding Davis of Harper’s Weekly described the stream of fans heading north before the game: Continue reading